Saving yourself from fraud while buying or selling a property

Saving Yourself From Fraud While Buying or Selling A Property

It is a bitter fact that there is an occurrence of frauds while buying or selling the property. Misinformation or Ignorance or lack of information on procedures and documentation is the main cause.  However, one can easily avoid these complications. 

Some of such common frauds are:

Imperfect Title – For a buyer, it is significant to ensure that the seller has a clean title and can transfer the ownership rights in the property to the buyer. The title should be free from defects. The imperfect title means there is any encumbrance on the property or the property is disputed.

Multiple mortgages: The seller has mortgaged the house to different banks before selling the same.

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Delayed possession by developers – In case of buying house/flat constructed by a builder, possession of the flat is often delayed. The buyer’s money gets blocked.   

Building not as per the approved plan– The builder does not construct the building as per the sanctioned plan. Necessary approvals from the Government are not taken. The property is not as per the description/advertisement. Sometimes the location of the property may also differ.

Fake Documents– There is also a practice of preparing fake title deeds. Either the signatures are forged or the document (property document) is not valid i.e. proper stamp duty not paid or document not registered as required.

Fraud by Impersonation: The person presenting himself as the owner of the property is not the actual owner. The documents are signed forging the signatures of the actual owner.

Home equity frauds– In simple words, home equity frauds means a fraud where the fraudster hacks the information about the true owner and reroutes the loan amount to his account by forging the signatures of the actual owner.

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Misuse of power of attorney: A POA granted to execute a sale deed can be misused. It is better to get the same verified from a lawyer to avoid any dispute later.

How to avoid them:

Information and knowledge is the key to avoid any property related frauds. Some steps can be:

To verify the Credentials of the developer/builder:

If the builder/company is reputed, it can help to ensure that necessary approvals have been taken and promises made are not fake. Possession will not be delayed as the developer has maintained a good track record.

Checking the revenue records:

There is a mention of the lien/mortgage over the property in the revenue records. The same can be verified to ensure that property is free from encumbrances and title is clear.

Buying a resale property:

Collect the encumbrance certificate from the office of the Sub Registrar as it helps to verify that the title is clear. EC also contains the name of the previous owner. Also, check the tax payslips. Try to verify that all dues have been paid.

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Buying a house in a society:

Check that the society is registered and there is a resident welfare association in place.

Buying a house from a builder:  

It is better to check that the project is registered with RERA. It helps to ascertain that all necessary approvals are in place and construction is as per norms. Moreover, possession will be granted as per promise.

From Seller’s point of view certain precautions are:

  • Buyers generally ask for original ownership documents. Sellers must possess the same
  • Seller must have Approved building plan or occupation certificate from the local authorities
  • Sellers must ascertain the identity of the buyers especially if the buyer is executing the conveyance deed using a power of attorney
  • Proper valuation of the property to quote the correct price

Taking legal advice:

Property transactions are complex. To avoid the occurrence of fraud, the parties must take legal advice and ensure proper documentation.

 Investment in the property must be taken seriously. The casual approach may land you in trouble.

Things to do when your home is not selling

Things to do when your home is not selling

A house is essential for a decent living. It is a part of “right to life”, a fundamental right. Investment in a house is made to create a permanent asset.

Investment in real estate is also a lucrative business option, more comfortable and predictable as compared to investment in stocks and shares.

House is put on sale for various reasons like:

  • Relocation
  • Speculative purposes
  • Financial necessity/Distress Sale

If the sale of the house is not getting any response, we advise our clients to consider certain factors as mentioned below: 

Pricing: setting the right price   

Setting the right price for home is very important and depends on the market rate. It is necessary to analyse price influencing factors such as the area where the property is situated, demand for the house whether for residential purpose or speculative investment etc. Accordingly, the price can be changed to attract the buyers and should be set to recover a reasonable amount. Reduction in price should be the last resort.

Time of sale:  Postpone the sale

There is a time when selling a house is more advantageous. It is when the demand for home is rising. Rising income, easy credit availability etc. are some factors which influence the demand for house. If the house is not selling, wait and watch the market movement. If the buyer has too many options, better to postpone the sale.

Try other alternatives: Lease or Rent

If the house is not selling, try other alternatives like offering the house on lease or rent. A tenant may be interested, and such a tenant who has a stake in the house will take good care of the property also.

Sometimes the buyers are not interested in immediate purchase as the arrangement of finance might be a problem. An offer of lease attracts such buyers as there is always an option to buy later. 

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Ensure that the sale of the house has been properly advertised to reach to the maximum number and photographs of the house show the best features.

Title of the house and updated government records:

Ensure that the house put on sale has manifestly clear title and is free from all encumbrances. This fact should be evident from the Government records which buyers do check before buying a property. The land where the house is located is not disputed.  Take care that in a housing society, the house is freehold and sale is permitted without hassles.

Incentive:

Try offering some incentive e.g. discount if payment made early or payment made in full at once. 

Repairs/ Renovation:

The house on sale must be in order beforehand.  Repairs, where ever required should be attended. If need be, parts of the house can be renovated to enhance the physical as well as the material value of the house.

Real Estate Agent

The real estate agent hired for selling the house needs to be changed. The sale may require new perspective and better professional skills. Real Estate Agent should not have any vested interest in the sale.

Relocation Companies:

In case of relocation for work, employers arrange for buyouts through relocation companies.  It can be of great help.

Legal Advice: It is always better to engage a lawyer for the brokerage contract, title search, knowing the tax implications and preparation of legal documents, in case of property related matters. Selling a home becomes smooth with right advice and strategy.

Selling property in India? Here are some reminders!

Selling property in India Here are some reminders

The current development in the Real Estate Industry of India has prompted Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) into selling the properties they have in India to benefit from the hike in the land prices. However, NRIs must keep in mind the clauses of the Indian tax laws before they sell their property to ensure a smooth transaction and avail maximum benefits.

Points to Remember for an NRI while Selling Property in India

  • An NRI can only sell residential and commercial property in India to a person residing in India or an NRI or a PIO (Person of Indian Origin).
  • An NRI can also sell under extended license his agricultural land/plantation property/farm house in India only to an individual who is a resident Indian and is also an Indian citizen.
  • An NRI can also assign his/her residential or commercial property to a licensed dealer or housing finance institution in India through contract.
  • An NRI should not transfer their residential and commercial property in India through transfer to someone abroad, as prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is obligated for this purpose.
  • If a property acquired out of rupee resources, that is, income earned in rupees, or the home loan is paid by a relative who is a resident of India, the amount must be charged to the NRO account.
  • If an NRI is unable to visit India, he/she can sell the property by issuing Special Power of Attorney to someone he/she considers trustworthy.

Tax Liabilities

Selling of the property as it is in the case of purchase also attracts tax liabilities. For NRIs, Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999 decides the tax implications, and the factors that need to be considered. Things such as Transfer (sale) date for determining capital gains; agreement value for calculating profits and capital gains, transfer charges, legal charges and outstanding loans.

Capital Gains

If an NRI sells his/her house within three years from the date of purchase and makes a profit, then he/she is supposed to pay short-term capital gains tax at the regular rate fit as per his/her tax classification.

However, if the sale happens after three years of the purchase, then he/she has to pay capital gains tax as per the norms.

Repatriate Profits

  • After the sale of property, the NRI may repatriate the sale yields of residential or commercial property in India but must keep in mind that the repatriation of sales is limited to only two properties.
  • The repatriated amount should also ideally not exceed the sum paid for buying the property, either in foreign exchange received from the Non-Resident account, nor should it overshoot the foreign currency equivalent as on the day of payment.
  • Today, remittance of funds from the selling of property is simple and hassle-free for the benefit of NRIs.

Tax Exemptions

  • If an NRI sells a residential estate after three years from the date of purchase and reinvests the proceeds into another residential land within two years from the date of sale, the profit generated is exempted.
  • If an NRI sells a residential land after three years from the time of purchase and invests the amount of capital gains in securities (REC & NHAI) within the span of six months (date of sale), he/she will be spared from capital gain tax.

Nonetheless, an NRI must function as per the guidelines mentioned under FEMA Act of, 1999, and he/she must also ensure that they are well guided by a legal expert in matters of selling property in India and must also be vigilant of fake property dealers.